Strictly Discs

November 9, 2023

New This Week At The Shop

What's new this week? Well, if you've surveyed your local headlines you might already know that Strictly Discs is now under new ownership, with founder Ron and partner Angie having just recently sold the shop to new owner Rick Stoner. For more on the story of the sale, please refer to some excellently written articles in the Capital Times and the Wisconsin State Journal, both of which go into great detail on both the history and the future of the shop. Your longwinded newsletter writer and counter guy (hi, it's me, Evan) will stay on in the same role, along with the rest of the friendly staff here, so you can expect the same service you've always gotten from us. Ron and Angie will remain active at the shop through at least the rest of the year in their usual roles, so you have plenty of time to stop in and wish them well. With that out of the way, onto the new records, which fittingly kick off this week with one of Angie's faves: CAT POWER 'Sings Dylan'. Yup, this is not a drill, folks. The one and only Chan Marshall has a new album of Dylan covers, and not just any Dylan covers, but a full recreation of the singer's legendary "Royal Albert Hall Concert" in 1966, where he performed an electric set that famously sparked a near-revolt in the audience. (It also didn't actually take place at the Royal Albert Hall but let's not get too bogged down in the details here.) True to the original, Marshall performs the first half of the set solo acoustic style, in a seance-level session that includes tender, heart-bursting renditions of 'Visions of Johanna' and 'Desolation Row', then returns for a second set of plugged-in rockers like 'Tell Me, Momma', 'Leopard-Skin Pill-Box Hat' and 'Like A Rolling Stone'. The only difference here is that nobody is booing, and instead of yelling "You're a liar" or "play it fuckin loud", Marshall only murmurs between-song banter like "Thanks, this is fun". Longtime Cat Power fans will understand what a statement like that means from Marshall, who rather infamously didn't have fun playing live at all for quite awhile. She sounds fully immersed, warm and alive here, on arrangements of early Dylan hits that hew much closer to their classic arrangements than her typical deconstructive covers. This instantly legendary set is available on double CD and double white vinyl. We've also got the long-awaited new studio album from CHRIS STAPLETON, honing his modern day Waylon styles with 'Higher', in on limited edition bone colored vinyl, plus great new reocrds from VINCENT NEIL EMERSON with 'The Golden Crystal Kingdom' and AJR with 'The Maybe Man'.
Nobody grabs headlines quite like THE BEATLES, who sent a horde of fans in last week to pick up a new single (already sold out, sorry!) This week brings freshly expanded, half-speed remastered editions of their essential singles collections, '1962-1966' (the red one) and '1967-1970' (the blue one). Both sets have been extended to 3LPs with the addition of a dozen new tracks on each, including early tunes from Harrison and Lennon, and the band's early versions of classic R&B hits. If you missed the 'Now & Then' single, that's included on the blue set now. A fresh remaster is also applied to 'Without A Net', the final live album from THE GRATEFUL DEAD, which captured their riveting tours in the fall of '89 and spring of '90. Haven't done any heavy stuff since the Nassau Coliseum. The JIMI HENDRIX EXPERIENCE laid waste to a sold-out Hollywood Bowl on August 18, 1967, just before their debut LP released, in a session that's never been reissued (or even bootlegged, which is hard to believe) until the edition we have this week.
It's been five years since we last heard new material from BEIRUT, the ethereal Balkan folk group headed by ukester Zach Condon; 'Hadsel' is a deeply resonant return to form. Midwest guitar hero KEVIN MORBY is back with 'More Photographs (A Continuum)', a companion album to last year's 'This Is A Photograph', with some outtake tracks and new versions of songs from that album. There's probably not another band out there better equipped to conjure the sound of the Velvet Underground than their jangle-rock heirs THE FEELIES, who turn in a full live set of classic VU jams on 'Some Kinda Love'. For some folks, Christmas is all about good cheer, trimming the tree, hot cocoa, and stuff like that; for others, its about being really sad. If you are in the latter camp, then BRIGHT EYES' classic 'A Christmas Album' might be the one for you. It's back in print this week in a new red vinyl edition.
I'm gonna go ahead and quote my colleague and gigantic Sco-head Mark, who claims that around the turn of the century, you couldn't walk 5 feet in his undergrad dorm without hearing part of JOHN SCOFIELD's 'A Go Go' wafting out of someone's room. This funky guitar fusion classic got pigeonholed as trip-hop back in the day, but now we celebrate it as a far more uniting force with a fresh 'Verve By Request' edition that will no longer run you over 3 figures on wax. DAVE BRUBECK's elegant session 'Jazz At Oberlin' gets an audiophile press, along with an early gem from the HAROLD LAND QUINTET called 'The Peace-Maker. The first jazz album I ever personally bought was WES MONTGOMERY's 'Full House', a foundational set of pinpoint and expressive guitarwork that now has an expanded three-LP edition called 'The Complete Full House Recordings', with a slew of unreleased alternate takes.
We first heard from Peruvian-German producer SOFIA KOURTESIS with her incredible debut single 'La Perla' a few years ago, a dreamily propulsive piece of modern dance magic. She's finally followed it up with her first full-length 'Madres', which fully delivers on that early promise. A quote from her on this album reads "my heart is very Latin American, but my motor is German", and that perfectly sums up how uniquely efficient these tracks are. Swedish house producer and mother BELLA BOO is back with 'DreamySpaceyBlue', a narcotically deep set of late night bangers infused with bright colors. It's been twenty years now (yikes) since RICARDO VILLALOBOS put the dance world on its tiptoes with his massive triple album 'Alcachofa', a mesmerizing set of longform tech-house that felt modern and ancient at the same time. Perlon has done up another edition of this, adding a fourth 12" of tools, and unfortunately not keeping its original amazing cover art, so you'll have to find something else to stare at while you trip balls. If you've ever longed for the musical equivalent of the smell of rain, its VLADISLAV DELAY's groundbreaking 2000 dub techno masterpiece 'Multila', which gets a fresh reissue this week as well.
The technologically-significant year of 1984 found musician and style god RYUICHI SAKAMOTO at the heights of his experiments combining synth-pop, classical, and traditional Japanese sounds, resulting in albums like 'Ongaku Zukan', reissued internationally for the first time in an edition with a bonus 7" this week. The Be With label continues to bring us deep cuts from the world of library music, which often obscures its thrilling instrumental funk and jazz gems with rather unassuming covers. That is, uh, not the case with SVEN TORSTENSON's 'Drugs', which will make you feel exactly like this cover looks. A well-appointed reissue rescues the vital obscurity that is Venezuelan artist JOHNNY LAMAS' lush synthwave and 90s body music gem 'Danza Cosmica'. The world recently said farewell to the Turkish psych titan ERKIN KORAY, whose artful, heavy and trippy riffs influenced generations of musicians up to the present day in Altin Gun and Khruangbin. 'Mechul: Singles & Rarities' collects some of his sickest tunes and is an incredible introduction to an icon.
Uncontainable Chicago rapper MICK JENKINS breaks meter like his hard-charging forefather Freddie Gibbs (who does show up on one tune here) on an explosively real new one called 'The Patience'. What in the world is AESOP ROCK doing now? We've been saying that for decades with this guy. His latest is called 'Integrated Tech Solutions', a late-capitalist concept album a company thats doing big things in the innovation sector. Cerebral R&B vets MOONCHILD do fresh takes on some of their earliest tunes on 'Reflections'. MIGUEL ATWOOD-FERGUSON has the entire LA beat scene in his address book, and they are all showing up on his overwhelming new four LP album, 'Les Jardins Mystiques Vol. 1'.
If you're like us you cannot get enough of the fuzzy, feel good Peruvian cumbia that has recently gained a wider audience through some well-selected reissues. We have two such gems this week, GRUPO CELESTE's 'Fabuloso!' and LOS DARLINGS DE HUANUCO's 'Singles from 1970-1980', both of which wed baleful guitar with organ fuzz and percolating polyrhythms. TITO PUENTE's 'El Rey Bravo' is a very early (1962!) classic from the king of mambo, and we've got an extremely heady live banger from the Brazilian fusion band SOM IMAGINARIO, an early home of Wagner Tiso and Nana Vasconcelos, which truly seems to fuse every style together, from jazz to prog, to bebop to the Beatles.
One of the truest, most unsung musical forces in the universe left the physical plane in 2020, in the human form of PAULINE ANNA STROM. The Bay Area ambient composer grew up completely blind, and without any formal musical training found her way through the world using only her auditory powers, which over time gave her the capability to produce music like nobody else has. The RVNG label did Strom and the rest of us a solid a decade or so back, when they began to reissue Strom's music as TRANS-MILLENIA CONSORT, decades after she had retired from music. That project concludes now with 'Echoes, Spaces, Lines', a new box-set containing her landmark 1980s cassette works, three of which have been broken out as individual LPs: 'Spectre', 'Plot Zero' and 'Trans-Millenia Consort'. Anywhere you drop in on this vast body of work, you are taken somewhere far, far from where you began.
Po-faced Aussies THE NATIVE CATS were years ahead of the talk-singer trend in punk popularized lately by Sleaford Mods and Dry Cleaning, but are they mad about it? Honestly I can't tell if they like me or if theyre mad at me on the brilliant and catchy 'The Way On Is the Way Off', but I think that's intentional. Brooklyn political kraut-punks SUNWATCHERS return with another blazer called 'Music Is Victory Over Time'; a lovely limited reissue of the ISIS extended plays 'Mosquito Control / The Red Sea' is in on silver vinyl, and we've got a fresh freakshow from the Swedish psychers GOAT called 'Medicine'. Go on and take it.
The London DJ duo TIME IS AWAY are blessed with a rare skill for finding liminal gems from the fringes of folk, prog, ambient and indie for their must-hear NTS show, and a new compilation from them called 'Searchlight Moonbeam' shows off just a few of their impeccable finds. Avant guitarist JON COLLIN teams up with veteran hauntologists DEMDIKE STARE on 'Minerals'. Kenyan drone composer KMRU returns with 'Dissolution Grip', and we've got another brain massage from multi-tooled jazzer SAM GENDEL on 'Audiobook'.
Paul Bender from Hiatus Kaiyote goes full on Martin Denny mode as THE SWEET ENOUGHS, for an exquisitely chill album of modern downtempo exotica called 'Marshmallows'. Even though you could combine literally any two words and call it "a subgenre of vaporwave", I buy the term "mallsoft" as attached to DISCONSCIOUS's 'Hologram Plaza', reissued on vinyl this week, as it sounds exactly like The Caretaker playing in a dead mall. THE DROP NINETEENS made one of the greatest American shoegaze albums of the 90s and then peaced right out, which you've gotta respect. 'Hard Light', their first music in decades, somehow sounds like they never left. Po niespełna 3 latach od wydania debiutanckiego krążka ETNOBOTANIKA powraca. „Leśne Duchy” to kolejny album śląskiego duetu, który ukazuje się nakładem połączonych sił wytwórni Superkasety Records i The Very Polish Cut Outs.

Used Vinyl LP Alert

The ever-reliable Used Vinyl Alert delivers the goods this week, with sweet ones from faves like The Grateful Dead, Pink Floyd, Rolling Stones, Jimi Hendrix, Lou Reed, Bob Dylan, the Band, Velvet Underground, the Beach Boys, The Beatles, Tom Waits, David Bowie, Badfinger, Duane Allman, Roger Waters, the Kinks, Joni Mitchell, Jimmy Buffett, The Who, Frank Zappa, Ten Years After, Dire Straits, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Van Halen, AC/DC, Van Morrison, Elvis Costello, Devo, and Tears for Fears.

Some very strong jazz this week covers quite a lot of ground, with seldom seen titles from Ramsey Lewis, Cannonball Adderley, Airto, Paul Jackson, Tatsuya Takahashi, The Crusaders, Milton Nascimiento, Eric Dolphy, Eiji Kitamura, Dave Brubeck, Coleman Hawkins, Fred Hersch, Dizzy Gillespie, Marion Brown, Dexter Gordon, Gary Burton, John Coltrane, Tom Harrell, Keith Jarrett, McCoy Tyner, and many more.

Some seriously classic blues is in from JB Lenoir, Sister Rosetta Tharpe, Albert King, Taj Mahal, Bukka White, Johnny Winter, Muddy Waters, Howlin’ Wolf, Robert Johnson, Otis Spann, Leadbelly, Charlie Musselwhite, Little Walter, and more. Soul is in from Isaac Hayes, Otis Redding, Donna Summer, Solomon Burke, the Commodores, Roberta Flack and the Detroit Emeralds.

Lots of great classical and modern comp/synth is in from Holst, Philip Glass, Bernard Herrmann, Eno and Byrne, Laurie Spiegel, Wendy Carlos, Lou Harrison, Paul Lansky, and Hildegard von Bingen. Contemporary titles are in from Explosions in the Sky, Childish Gambino, Nav, Kid Cudi, Gary Clark Jr, Mount Eerie, The Antlers and the Black Dahlia Murder.

Yes, we are still buying! Call Ron to schedule (608.213.3610).
Ron, Ryan, Angie, Evan, Matt, Ed, Eric, Matt B., Steve, Mark, Marty, Brad, Adam, Zeb & Andrew
        
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